Emergent Fallacies and The Dummying Down of the Church

by Mike Ratliff

I listened to a fantastic interview today on Crosstalk Radio from the 17th. It featured Ingrid Schlueter interviewing Chris Rosebrough. The title of the show was “Emergent Heresy – A Warning.” One of the most difficult things for me over the last few years has been in addressing the heretical things that the emergents were saying, but it seemed that there was absolutely no foundation or structure to their confusing attacks on the truth while using some of the same doctrinal words that we us in Christian Orthodoxy. This interview tied much of the confusion together for me so that I now understand that simply addressing a salient heretical point here and there with them is like trying to kill a swam of mosquitos with an ice pick. This issue really isn’t that these Emergents are messed up theologically, but that they are not Christians at all. Their religion is not Christianity, it is some other hashed together conglomeration of philosophies that have become anchored in our churches because the source of their followers are coming from our youth groups who are easily duped into their lies because they have grown up in churches in which there is no solid Biblical training. Their local church has been fed a dummied down theology that is void of biblical truth. 

Who is behind this dummying down of the Church? It is Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and their copy cat followers. I left a SBC church in 2006 that was going Purpose Driven. The Pastor there wanted all of the Deacons, which I was one, to read The Purpose Driven Church by Rick Warren. However, at that time I had already been in several months of discussion with friends on the original Slice of Laodicea site dealing with this stuff. Ken Silva pointed me in the right direction and before my pastor gave me that book to read, I already understood that if we implemented it there that I could no longer be part of that church. I put together a paper explaining why the Purpose Driven Church model was unbiblical. I gave it to my pastor as I returned the book to him. The paper was ignored and I was ostracized so my wife and I left.

This seeker sensitive church paradigm runs parallel with the emergent church paradigm. They are part of the same deception. Over the last few years as I have dealt with the supporters of both movements, I have been utterly amazed at the Biblical ignorance of these people. Some of them have many letters after their names showing what seminary or seminaries they have attended. However, when they are drawn into a serious Biblical discussion, their usage of God’s Word is pathetic. They try to make proofs from out-of-context passages and once these are blown up on their faces they resort to straw man attacks, insults, and bullying tactics. If they can’t get us to dialogue with them, which is an attempt to make us compromise, then they absolutely refuse to debate because they know that those who are standing firm on God’s Truth are not in any way going to compromise.

Christians who are strong in their faith and know the Word of God well because they live in it as they are commanded, can easily spot the errors in these two paradigms. Also, books like The Shack are clearly  seen for the heresies they are. The ones who are duped into believing that we are simply dealing with another form of Christianity in these things are those who are biblically ignorant and whose faith is based more on following men and/or philosophies rather than The Saviour. They are all about religion and churchianity, which are really only idols to them. These are the ones who rise up and try to defend these people as only being misunderstood and are only guilty by association with more radical heretics. They are convinced that there are no absolutes and it is wrong for us to lay the truth out there AS THE TRUTH. As I said earlier, I have had “discussions” with defenders from all of these groups and there is one commonality that I have seen in them all. They discount the Word of God and do not see it as absolute truth and definitely not the plumb line of truth which should govern the lives of all believers.

From the interview I heard today I learned that the theology of the emergents is driven by their eschatology, such as it is. They do not believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross for the sins of those He came to save. They do not believe He is returning to claim His bride and judge the world. Instead, they ignore what the Bible clearly teaches about the gospel and teach that Jesus is going to return and everyone will join Him in rebuilding the Earth into a paradise. That is why when we witness preachers going soft on sin and repentance that that is a red flag that compromise has taken root there. This is also why these people are all about including homosexuals in their fellowships. This is also why they look with disgust on what the Bible really teaches about The Day of the Lord.

This is now the second letter that I am writing to you, beloved. In both of them I am stirring up your sincere mind by way of reminder, that you should remember the predictions of the holy prophets and the commandment of the Lord and Savior through your apostles, knowing this first of all, that scoffers will come in the last days with scoffing, following their own sinful desires. They will say, “Where is the promise of his coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all things are continuing as they were from the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:1-4 ESV)

This is talking about the last of the last days. This is the heresy that will be overrunning the Church just prior to our Lord’s return. These heretics we are dealing with today are these scoffers. They love their false religion because it does not convict them of their pursuit of their sinful desires. My brethren, who is the father of all lies? It is Satan. What does he attack with his most deceitful lies? Isn’t it the Gospel and the blessed hope of our resurrection when the Lord returns? He is a counterfeiter and the emergent theology teaches that the real hope is their fantasy of this false Jesus returning to rebuild the Earth with their help. If that isn’t the perfect setup for a vast following for the Antichrist then I don’t know what is. I find it interesting that Rick Warren’s new book is titled The Hope You Need. I understand that it is based on the Lord’s Prayer. If it presents a “hope we need” that is not based on the return of our Lord Jesus Christ, as God’s Word clearly teaches, then it is nothing more than more false prophecy.

Soli Deo Gloria!

26 thoughts on “Emergent Fallacies and The Dummying Down of the Church

  1. Thank you for pointing out this episode, brother. I’ll take a listen, and if it’s appropriate, will be sharing it with a few folks.

    It’s worrying me that I now have more Christian friends who retort with “What’s wrong with Rick Warren/Rob Bell? He sounds Biblical!” when I gently advise that they not subscribe to those teachings.


  2. Mike,

    I agree that the “Their local church has been fed a dummied down theology that is void of biblical truth.”

    It also is an indictment against fathers not instructing their children and wife.

    For it is written, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” Ephesians 6:4

    A lot of fathers are not taking the time instruct the children of the Lord from the Scriptures on a daily basis. They leave the job almost 100% to the teachers in Sunday school and youth group. Then they don’t talk to their kids to see what they were taught. This is a recipe for disaster.

    Your brother in Christ,


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  4. Mike,
    It is not just these seeker churches. Alcoholics Anonymous, with its chameleon theology, has weakened the Body of Christ (and the culture) for seventy years.

    This 12 Step spirituality is not our friend, and never has been.

    Emergents like Phyllis Tickle and Spencer Burke recognize AA’s role in pointing this nation away from Christ–but, meanwhile, pastors in Biblical churches (?) continue to allow AA to hold meetings in the very House of God.

    In Him,


  5. “Christians who are strong in their faith and know the Word of God well because they live in it as they are commanded, can easily spot the errors in these two paradigms. ”

    My family and I left our church last church of 13 years, that I was also a leader in because they were focusing on Rick Warren and the PDL. I met with the Pastor to discuss the heresy. He encourged me to find a church more to my liking…so we did.
    Based on you quote above, I am finding that most Christians are not strong in their faith or know the Word of God. They listen to these “feel good” messages that sound Christinan-like and follow them like sheep. The sad part is that most of the Pastors are following Rick Warren and Bill Hybels just to attract more church goers to increse attentence and money. Did they forget that it is God who provides the harvest? I pray that the Church repents and comes home soon.
    By the way, the church we left has since planted another church that has gone Emergent. It’s just sad.
    It looks like it is a sign of our times…Sola Scriptura!


  6. Amen Dennis.

    The retorts I have received in the background on this message have all been focused on things like, “but there are so many who are in these movements who love Jesus, et cetera, et cetera.” Yes, but as I we have seen over the last several articles, a profession of faith is meaningless if it is to a false form of Christianity to that other Jesus. I will try to clarify the Gospel in my next post so that there can be no confusion.

    I pray the same prayer brother.

    In Christ

    Mike Ratliff


  7. Hi Mike,

    Ever had the retort “you’re too ‘black and white’ with the Bible?

    We have lost count of the times that one has been bounced at us as such, from those of whom remain in WOFmania – PDL – Emergent wonderland.

    Looking forward to your Gospel scribe.

    Blessings in Christ,


    Romans 1:16


  8. Mike,

    If they will not repent, then I just pray that they call themselves by another name other than Jesus the Christ. They call themselves by Christ but are not His disciples.

    As Paul Washer has said about a True Disciple “is someone who so identifies himself with Jesus Christ and so reflects Him in character, word and deed that he shares in Christ’s fame or infamy. The disciple’s identity in society will be determined by society’s view of his Master. Those who hate Christ and are hostile to His cause, will hate his disciple, despise his lifestyle, oppose his proclamation, and seek to alienate him from society.”

    Can the emergent, social gospel, seeker groups claim this? No, they just all want to get along…. That’s fine. Just don’t claim the blood soaked life and name of my Jesus.

    We just need to remember that we will never have enough Strenth in ourselves to do the Work and Purpose of God.

    By His grace alone,



  9. Thanks for pointing to this interview. I’m eager to listen to it. I’ve posted before, but it’s been awhile. I too, left an SBC church that was purpose driven and started going emergent. I am going to a solid church now, and also got into leadership in the state convention to try and help warn them and the churches of what we were bringing in. I was naive, and this has been harder than I anticipated. I did not expect the pushback and attacks for bringing evidence and research of these deceitful movements, emergent and purpose driven. It’s been four years now, and I’m used to it, but I’m afraid the eyes and ears of these folks are closed.

    I have one more meeting where I’m supposed to bring more research to the person in charge of collegiate ministries in our state. He is headlong into this emergent and has been bringing the materials and introducing it to our churches and college campus’. He even showed a rob bell nooma at our main young people camp we have each summer. I’m at a loss as to what else to show them. If anyone has any ideas, it would be so appreciated. Any books, articles, etc. I’ve given them many things already, and maybe I should stop beating my head against a wall already, but I care for all these folks and they are being so deceived, it breaks my heart. Anyway, sorry for the long post. I’m just so burdened over this. Thanks for your site Mike. Very helpful, informative and uplifting.


  10. Karen, yes my sister, I have had that retort. I had another one you may have heard as well, “God gave us intuition and knowledge and intelligence so we don’t need to be tied down to the Bible like that!” That one sorta knocked the wind out of me for a few minutes. How deceived can one be?


  11. Kim, I am glad you are in a good, solid church now. The best thing you can do for those people in darkness is pray for them and never compromise on the truth. They may resent it. They may accuse you. They may hate you. However, perhaps God will draw some out of the deception before it is too late.


  12. I bought the Red River Bible and Prophecy Conference dvd. I really enjoy a lot Jacob Prasch teachings. On one of the teachings, he says that when God hands men over to strong delusion, they will not be able to receive the truth. I wonder if that is what we are witnessing now. I know that man’s time line is not God’s but I have to wonder because I often find it harder to minister to those caught up in the delusion much more than someone who has never even heard the basics about the gospel. It just seems that even the secular world can discern the poison more than the deluded church. An old coworker told me that it will be worse for the deluded church than it will for those who have never heard the basics. Maybe he is right. Maybe they have reached the point to where they cannot receive the truth. Time will tell.


  13. Hi Kim,

    I have presented God’s Word in opposition to the Emerging Church and Purpose Driven idea’s twice, once to our PAST Pastor and once to our Children’s school board. The Pastor wouldn’t change his direction but the school did.

    My encouragemet to you is just do what God called you to do and present the information and leave the rest in God’s hands. You are not responsable for the outcome, only to present the truth. Then you need to rest in Him.

    If they are truly His disciple, they will listen. If not, you have done what God called you to do. This is all God asked of His prophets of old and this is all He asks of us.

    I have been where you are and I know you REALLY want them to listen. I am praying for you and the many other Prophets that are standing up for the truth today.

    In Christ,



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  15. I totally agree with Dennis when he says “If they will not repent, then I just pray that they call themselves by another name other than Jesus the Christ. They call themselves by Christ but are not His disciples.”

    A person who has not repented cannot possibly claim to have believed in Christ, because without the conviction of sin how can they feel their need of the savior? These are false disciples, following a religion that makes them feel self-righteous for other good deeds it might inspire them to do. But the “work of God is that we believe!” Seek Him with the whole heart and not just an intellectual or ethical persuasion. I’d rather see that the FULL gospel is of faith AND repentance of sin are preached, even if it divides, because it will purge out the false and strengthen the true disciples.

    Thank you for your courage Mike. God bless you!


  16. Thank you Mike and Dennis for the encouragement. In my anxiousness for them to hear and understand this evidence I bring them, I do need to remember I’ve done what God asks us, and only He can open their eyes and ears. I pray constantly for that.


  17. Mike
    In your opening paragraph you stated:
    “This issue really isn’t that these Emergents are messed up theologically, but that they are not Christians at all.”
    This really sums things up. Most of us know this but it’s a
    tough thing to admit. Our approach to dealing with the
    Emergent problem must begin from this premise. We are
    no longer addressing wayward brothers but the lost. It is
    a very sobering thought.
    I listened to the interview and recommend it to all. Your
    piece helped clarify the situation for me even more.


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